As a kid, I was a very picky eater, and every summer I dreaded one meal...the all vegetable meal.
The people of Ridgeway Baptist Church really believed in taking care of their pastor's family, and in the summer taking care of the pastor's family meant sharing from their gardens.....much to my dismay.
When I saw Elmer O'Kelley riding his bike down our driveway with a bag of squash hanging of his bicycle, I knew the all vegetable meal was coming. (Elmer didn't have a car or electricity. He was off the grid before it was cool.) Often we would find a bag of green beans from Jimmy Cheek's garden on our front porch, my parents would smile and say things like, "We're gonna be eating good tonight." I had to hold back my gag reflex as I felt the all vegetable meal approaching.
Soon after, my mom would take all the vegetables, make some cornbread, and call it a feast. As the picky eater, I lived off of cantelope at that meal. As they savored every bite, my parents would reminisce about all the vegetables in my grandpa's garden, all the green beans my great-grandma used to can, and all the corn my mom would eat as a kid.
I thought they were crazy, what was the big deal. Didn't the grocery store sell squash and cucumbers for just a few dollars?
Now, as an adult, I'm not nearly as picky, and I finally get it. Fresh garden vegetables do taste different. Maybe it's the freshness or all the time and attention they get, but something about a fresh squash, tomato, or cucumber just tastes like summer. Now that I have a garden, I know how much care and time goes into planting and growing a garden. Now, I know how valuable those gifts were on our front porch from the givers. Now, I say things like, "We're gonna be eating good tonight," as I make my all vegetable meal....except for the cornbread I still don't like cornbread.